A four-seat, IFR-certified, electric-powered single with a predicted four-hour endurance and 800-pound payload that has an operating cost of about $19 is in the works, Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. Founder and CEO George Bye announced July 23 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The four-seat Sun Flyer builds on the two-seat prototype announced in March 2016.
As with its two-seat model, the company plans to earn FAA certification for this model. The four-seat aircraft hasn’t flown yet, but it has been fully tested on the ground and is expected to fly this fall, said Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. President Charlie Johnson.
The panel will feature the Avidyne IFD550 and will have an iPad holder so that the tablet can be carried on board and display battery and engine health information.
With a wingspan of 38 feet and a gross weight of 2,700 pounds, the company estimates that the aircraft will have a glide ratio of 18.7. Normal speeds will range from 55 knots to 120 knots, and best rate of climb is estimated at 1,250 fpm with 130 kW of propulsion.
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, which had previously ordered 25 of the two-seat electric trainers, has signed on as the first customer for the four-seater. The college is working with Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. to develop a maintenance model for the two-seater and will do the same for the four-seater.
Aimee Brown, chief marketing officer of the Spartan Education Group, said the school will receive the first aircraft off the assembly line and will incorporate the electric aircraft into its existing fleet of 44 aircraft comprised of Cessna 152s, 172s, and a Piper Seminole. Students will train in electric and traditional aircraft, and Brown said the college anticipates saving on maintenance and the operating cost—savings that will be passed on to students.
The company is accepting deposits for the four-seat Sun Flyer at an introductory price of $349,000; the two-seat version costs $249,000.